Obesity is a growing epidemic for both the general population and nursing profession. 50% of nurses are overweight or obese (Miller, Alpert, & Cross, 2008), with more than 40% of Black women obese in 2008 (CDC, 2011). This descriptive study examined weight-related perceptions and lifestyle behaviors of Black nurses (N=41) living in the US. Participants were recruited from the graduate and undergraduate nursing programs at Kean University. IRB-approved Informed Consent was obtained before completion of a 13-item questionnaire assessing weight perceptions and lifestyle behaviors. Body Mass Index (BMI; kg/m2) assessed weight (women, n = 33, M = 28.64, SD = 5.58; men, n = 8, M = 26.60, SD = 5.58). Mean BMI for US born nurses was 27.88 1.78 and 28.57 1.31 for non US born, not statistically significant at t = – 3.18, p = .752. 41% of the group perceived their weight as normal. A negative correlation (r = -.41, p =.008) existed between BMI and “Are you currently exercising?” Findings reinforce the need for additional study to understand whether current exercise reduces the BMI or whether those with increased BMI lack motivation to exercise.
Keywords: Attitudes, body mass index, body size, nurse-patient relations, obesity management, stereotypes
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